The subject today is… ”Business can regulate itself in this market economy.”
Well, for the average individual the hip shot answer is “False, damn you and my depleted 401k account too!” but to actually articulate the reason for the false answer requires a lot more detail information than the quite understandably rational, yet emotional response that I, and I’m sure you have when it comes to that which is near and dear to our livelihoods…our collective financial future.
The problem is that what we are currently facing isn’t so much that business is evil, but rather that business is business and will act in its own self interest…at best.
At worst, for the sole interests of the individual corporate managers who have shown a rapacious appetite not just for monetary power, but for political power to keep their position secured from any form of accountability by you, me, or the government.
The examples of this throughout our history are replete dating way back to the 1800’s with the railroad barons, then to the banking industry of the early 1900’s, to the collapse of Wall Street in the 1930’s, to the late 80’s early 90’s S&L disasters, to today’s bottom falling out from the entire financial industry. And of course we have done the sane thing…we threw some form of legislative regulation at the problem each time hoping that the legislation will be…enough.
And of course…it never is.
If it was…we wouldn’t be here sobbing over our portfolios.
So no, business can never regulate itself because regulation and the spirit of business are two . very . separate . ideologies.
World views if you will allow that distinction.
How do we define the distinction between the two?
The Japanese model of business was, is, and continues to be a form of warfare, just without traditional weapons. And so too has our national business institutions have come to accept that in truth, business is like warfare. In short, company’s have become the new nation states, their MBA’s their soldiers, and the other companies…either short term allies…or the next conquest.
So, if you think about it, business, unlike the current U.S. military policy, is about Total War.
Business then is survival of the fittest.
Darwin would be proud…if he would stop rolling over in his grave every time I misappropriated his thesis for my pet subjects.
So, what does regulation do?
Or, more appropriately, suppose to do?
Regulation is suppose to prevent monopolies, it’s also suppose to prevent perfidy of those in the know against those who are completely and totally clueless about how the financial world operates, which would be pretty much all of us.
Regulation also forces the management of the banks to be accountable, even when they duck accountability by blaming everyone who had nothing to do with their mismanagement in the first place. But most of all Regulation protects Joe and Jane average from the predations of the Businesses who will not hesitate to bend the two over at the waist and ride herd on them till their broke.
So we now can approach the question with some knowledge and that is Business “will” not regulate itself because any form of regulation is considered a detriment to their over all war plan, and thus, must either be neutralized, or ignored.
And of course, the past 100+ years of economic history has born this out.
And so, that is why we will continue to have problems in our economy.
Not because the will to regulate doesn’t exist, but because whatever regulation that is legislated into the market economy will be neutralized by the corporations as soon as the ink dries.
Which brings us to… ”what can we do?”
Well, good question, but the historical evidence stands that whatever clever institutions we assemble to regulate the business institutions are subject to the whims of the political party that is currently seeking to rule.
Sorry, I shouldn’t use the word rule…but at this time…it seems appropriate.
Each and every regulatory edifice that has been constructed has been obstructed, or of little use other than to validate the evolving system of conquest…er, I mean, transactions that are being employed by the very institutions that the regulatory park statue is suppose to prevent.
As to what can be done…I will save that for the comments section…but so far…we have lots of regulatory statues collecting a lot of pigeon droppings, and considering the end result, we now know how useless they have been.
Well, not entirely true, perhaps they'll serve as a reminder that doing something for something’s sake usually ends up doing…nothing.